Former Beaver Valley Nitehawk captain Jake Morissette called it a career earlier this week, announcing he won’t be returning to the Elite Ice Hockey League’s (EIHL) Cardiff Devils this season.
The 36-year-old Fruitvale native winds up his pro hockey career as the most successful captain in Devils’ history. The talented forward led the only Welsh team in the EIHL to back-to-back League titles in 2017 and 2018, a Challenge Cup win in 2017, and their second straight playoff championship.
“Mo was one of the few guys we kept when we took over the team and thank goodness we did,” said Cardiff managing director Todd Kelman. “He is one of the best team players I have ever had play for a team I was involved with. He does whatever it takes to win and always put the team’s success ahead of his own.”
Morissette joined the Devils a few weeks into the 2013-14 season and was one of the few players that were asked to stay when new ownership took over in the summer of 2014. His six seasons in Cardiff rank him among the highest scoring Devils with 82 goals and 219 points in 297 games.
He finished in the top 10 in overall scoring in the EIHL in 2014-15 and 20th overall the following season playing on the Devils top line.
He was named captain for the 2016-17 season after Quesnel native Tyson Marsh retired and was the first Devils captain to lift a league trophy in 20 years. He capped off the 2017-18 season by scoring an empty-net goal to seal the first Devils playoff title in 19 years.
This past April, Morissette and the Devils once again celebrated a playoff championship.
“He played on our top line for two years, then it seemed like whenever we felt someone was struggling or a line needed to get going, we would switch him onto that line and things would start to pick up,” said Kelman.
Morissette started his hockey in Beaver Valley, and was a born leader. He was the Nitehawks leading scorer and MVP in 2001 and ‘02, before jumping to the BCHL where he played two seasons for the Williams Lake Timberwolves.
A stellar two seasons with the Timberwolves earned Morissette a scholarship to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) where he graduated and began a professional career in pro hockey with the Amarillo Gorillas of the Central Hockey League.
Morissette crossed the pond to Europe and played in Denmark, France and Germany before settling in Cardiff. His work ethic on and off the ice made him an instant favourite in Wales, and success soon followed.
“He would go through a wall for his teammates if it meant they had a better chance to win,” added Kelman. “Just a total pro and a great captain.”
In a farewell tribute to Jake, Cardiff coach Andrew Lord wrote: ” I have been so lucky as a coach to have Mo alongside me all this time. He is one of the best teammates I’ve ever played with and one of the best people I know.
“He was an old school hockey player, who treated the game with honour and loved the Devils … He was a huge part in turning around this club the past five years and his success as our captain speaks for itself. We will miss him greatly.”
The EIHL consists of 11 teams from the United Kingdom including the Belfast Giants, Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers, Cardiff, Dundee Stars, Fife Flyers, Glasgow Clan, Coventry Blaze, Guildford Flames, Manchester Storm and Milton Keynes Lightning.